The Power of Asking for Help

The Power of Asking for Help: A Guide for Dementia Caregivers

Hey there, Careblazers!

I recently came across some invaluable advice that I believe can truly make a difference in your caregiving journey. If you're a dementia caregiver, you know just how challenging it can be to navigate this path alone. That's why I'm here to share some simple steps that can help you get the support you need.

First things first, let's address the elephant in the room - asking for help. I get it, it can feel like a daunting task, but trust me, it's not as hard as it seems. All it takes is opening your mouth and voicing your needs. If speaking isn't an option, don't worry, you can write it down. It's that simple.

So, why do we find asking for help so difficult? It's all in our heads. We convince ourselves that we should handle everything on our own. We worry about rejection or recall past experiences where promises of help fell through. But here's the thing, those thoughts are what make it hard, not...

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Revolutionizing Dementia Care: A Conversation with Mac McDermot

Careblazers, I recently had the privilege of interviewing Mac McDermot, a senior associate at the Milken Institute. Mac is deeply passionate about public health and has been actively involved in the Alliance to Improve Dementia Care. In our conversation, we discussed the crucial role of dementia care navigators and the groundbreaking GUIDE model, aimed at revolutionizing dementia care. Additionally, we explored the importance of destigmatizing dementia and championing caregivers. In this blog post, I'll delve into the key takeaways from our conversation, shedding light on the invaluable work being done to support dementia caregivers and their loved ones.

Meet Mac McDermot

Mac McDermot is a dedicated professional based in Washington DC, with a background in managed care. He spent two and a half years at Anthem, gaining extensive knowledge of population health trends among Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. Mac's passion for public health led him to pursue a master's degree, and he...

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Surprising Symptoms of Dementia: Part 1

Welcome back, Careblazer! In today's post, we're going to dive into five often-overlooked signs of dementia that deserve more attention. I'll be considering this Part One, but if you find it helpful and want more, just let me know after watching. When it comes to dementia, the stereotypical image of memory loss and confusion only applies to the later stages. In the early and mild stages, things can look quite different. So, let's explore these five surprising symptoms that could indicate dementia, while keeping in mind that they can also be attributed to various other factors.

  1. Facial Expressions

One unexpected sign of dementia is a reduced display of facial expressions, also known as "lack of affect." Unlike typical reactions to exciting or pleasant events, individuals with dementia may not show the expected emotions. It's not about facial movement but rather the absence of emotion behind their words. Recognizing this can be challenging for family members who may be trying to...

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Caregivers, Say Goodbye to Self-Care Stress

Hey there, Careblazer!  Dr. Natali Edmonds here, and today I want to talk about something really important... Are you tired of hearing about "self-care" and feeling like it's just not practical in your busy life as a dementia caregiver? I get it, and I'm right there with you. Stick around because I've got something better to share with you.

You know, I often hear from folks who struggle with the idea of self-care. They worry it's selfish or feel guilty even thinking about it. I get it; I really do. But here's the thing, self-care, as it's commonly understood, can sometimes come with a lot of baggage.

I used to be all about self-care, but let me tell you, it came with a load of guilt and grief. The moment I tried to focus on myself, it felt like I was somehow letting down the person I was caring for. Can you relate? I bet you can.

Now, I've swapped out the term "self-care" for something much more powerful - Life Care. I'd like to propose a shift in perspective....

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How One Caregiver Got Back on the Golf Course

Hey there, Careblazers!

I recently had the pleasure of working with one of the kindest men I've ever met. He's caring for his wife who has dementia, and she's currently in a memory care facility. All he wanted was to enjoy a game of golf, something he truly loved. But every time he mentioned it to his wife, it would upset her.

But guess what? In just one meeting, we found a solution that turned things around completely! And today, I'm excited to share this heartwarming story with you, because if there's something you want to do, but it upsets your loved one, there's hope for a solution.

Let me tell you all about it!

So, here's the scoop: this gentleman and I were chatting in one of our regular Zoom sessions (yes, we have those inside my care course!), and he opened up about how much he wanted to go golfing. But every time he brought it up, it upset his wife. That's when I knew we needed to find a way to make both of them happy.

Now, one of the easiest things you can do is identify...

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Finding the Right Words: Communication & Dementia: Diapers VS. Briefs

Hey there, Careblazers!

I recently had an eye-opening moment while caring for my loved one, who experiences incontinence. It led me to a valuable lesson I want to share with you all. In the world of caregiving, we often come across a flood of advice from professionals and well-meaning individuals online. It's easy to get lost in the sea of opinions, but I realized something crucial: the most important source of information is right in front of you.

We all know that our choice of words can significantly impact our interactions with those living with dementia. Simple changes like calling medication "vitamins" or a nutritional supplement a "smoothie" or "milkshake" can make a world of difference. Similarly, using terms like "adult briefs" instead of "diapers" is commonly advised. And while this advice generally holds true, my experience showed me that sometimes, there's an exception.

My loved one always referred to his adult briefs as "diapers." At first, I hesitated, worried that...

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Unlocking Your Best Caregiver Self: 3 Steps

Hey there, Careblazers! It's Natali Edmonds, your friendly geropsychologist, here to share some game-changing insights for your caregiving journey. Today, I want to address something that a fellow Careblazer recently opened up about: not liking the person they were becoming while caregiving for their loved one with dementia.

It's important to remember that being a caregiver comes with its fair share of challenges, and it's perfectly normal to feel frustrated, lose patience, and have tough moments. We're all human, after all. But if you're finding yourself in a position where you're truly unhappy with how you're showing up, I've got three simple steps that can help turn things around.

Step 1: Imagine Your Best Caregiver Self

Think of it like this: imagine a camera crew following you around, recording everything. Then, they show it on a big screen for you to watch. Would you like what you see? Focus on yourself, not the person you're taking care of. How would you want to respond...

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Navigating Resentment in Caregiving

Navigating Resentment in Caregiving

Hey there, fellow Careblazer! Today, I want to share with you three simple steps I take when I find myself grappling with a powerful negative emotion like resentment. Allow me to introduce myself – I'm Natali Edmonds, a board-certified geropsychologist. I aim to provide caregivers like you access to valuable information and support without prolonged waits.

Whether it's resentment, anger, frustration, or even jealousy, these steps can help. These emotions are different from natural feelings like grief or sadness, which we all experience at times of difficulty.

Resentment and jealousy, on the other hand, don't do us any favors. They certainly don't serve our loved ones with dementia. So, let me walk you through the three steps that I've found incredibly helpful. Plus, I'll address a common question that was asked.

Since May of this year, a significant portion of my time has been dedicated to caring for my dad. I'll admit, I've had my fair...

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The Business Of Death

Title: Navigating the Business of Death: Lessons from Dawn's Experience


Losing a loved one is an emotionally challenging experience, but amidst the grief, there are critical business decisions that must be addressed promptly. In a recent conversation with Dr. Natali, Careblazer Dawn shared her invaluable insights and experiences from her journey of caring for her mother with dementia and handling the funeral arrangements. In this blog post, we'll delve into Dawn's story, highlighting the essential preparations and considerations for those facing similar circumstances.

Preparing for the Inevitable:

Understanding the Logistics:

  - When a loved one passes, immediate decisions must be made regarding funeral arrangements.

  - Consider factors like location of services, transportation of the body, and communication between funeral homes.

Effective Communication is Key:

  - Dawn's initial uncertainty about the funeral logistics highlighted the...

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Medical Alert Devices: What Caregivers Should Know

Medical Alert Devices: What Caregivers Should Know

Hey there, Careblazers. Natali here, and today, I want to dive into a topic that's crucial for caregivers - medical alert devices. Remember those "Help, I've fallen, and I can't get up" commercials? Well, these devices are designed to provide immediate assistance in emergencies. Let's break down the pros and cons.

A medical alert device is typically worn around the neck and can be pressed in case of an emergency. It instantly connects the user to emergency personnel who can assess the situation and dispatch help if needed. It's not just for older adults with dementia; anyone can benefit, including those with special needs.

One of the significant advantages is that it acts as a safety net. It ensures that emergency help is just a button press away, even if the phone is out of reach after a fall or in other emergency situations.

However, here's the catch, especially for individuals with dementia. For a medical alert device to work,...

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